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surmounted by a graceful spire, which is sixty feet more. In the front wall of the tower, one above the other, are three canopied niches, containing three effigies-King Ina, King Ethelard, and Queen Frithogita. The ancient manor, together with those of South Brent, Burnham, Lympsham, and Bleadon-all within two miles of one another-was given by Ina, King of the West Saxons, to the Abbey of Glastonbury in the year of our Lord 690, and was held by the abbots till the dissolution of the monastery. One of them built a splendid mansion for a summer residence not far from the church, some fragments of which remained up to the commencement of the last century, but have since that entirely disappeared.
After viewing the church, and visiting the National School which is hard by, I took leave of Thomas, promising to visit him again, and made my way over the flank of the hill to South Brent. Here, too, I was fortunate, for the church was open. Like that of East Brent, it has undergone extensive alterations and repairs since I was last within its walls. The two end galleries are removed, and the grand old archway into the tower which one of them had long closed is thrown open. The massive oak pews also, which were constructed hundreds of years ago, when the services at the altar were esteemed much more than the ministrations of the pulpit, have given place to more convenient modern seats. Some of the curious old satirical carvings are still preserved, among which are these: a monkey in a monk's cloak and hood, reading prayers; fox in canonicals, with a mitre on his head, and a crozier in his hand; a young fox in chains, bearing a bag of money, and surrounded by chattering cranes; and a fox hung by a goose upon a tree, while two cubs are barking at the foot of the gallows. It is believed that these caricatures were designed by the parochial clergy as a satire upon the preaching orders, whose interference with their flocks gave rise to mutual antipathies and revilings. The same old Norman arch surmounts the door of the tower; but the ships, houses, and animals, which I drew with chalk so long ago, are all obliterated, and the thick oak panels seem to have been lately covered with a good coat of varnish. The tower itself is a massive structure in the perpendicular
style, and exhibits many traces of antiquity. The mural monument of John Somerset, Gent.,' dated 1663, is very remarkable; consisting of three busts, one of them a man grasping his sword, and the others his two wives, one of whom wears a large broad-brimmed hat, with a deep frill around her neck; all placed in oval recesses, surmounted by an entablature, which is supported by columns of Sienna marble.
It is evening. I recline upon the thyme-breathing turf upon the hillside above the church, and watch the setting sun. A fairer landscape, or a lovelier sky, never blessed the vision of man. The soft air is loaded with delicious fragrance the exquisite blending of all perfume. The scene is pervaded by every possible variety of colour, mellowed into one grand harmony of effect. How dark and huge those aged elms stand out against the gold and emerald background of harvest-field and meadow! The wind which breathes so softly through this venerable yew, stirs not a leaf of their massy foliage. Thirty-three years ago, on a calm summer evening like this, I heard the village band discoursing sweet concords beneath their ample branches. Just below, between those thick and lofty hedges, winds the fine macadamized road, and the hum of the passing phaeton makes an agreeable bass to the soft treble of the brook beside me, while the trot-trot-trot -trot-of that gray horse keeps time to my measured musings.
Hark! What is that mellow sound, which comes like an angel's lute-notes upon the wind? Do I dream, or is it the cadence of a pleasant memory? I hear it again, far off, but oh, how sweet! Now it dies away, and anon swells up full and clear upon the balmy air. It is the music of those incomparable bells to which I listened so often in my happy childhood. There is not a finer set in Somersetshire, perhaps not in England. My father assisted in hanging them, and my cousins and I made playhouses of them as they lay upon the ground. There must have been a wedding to-day at Burnham. What a wave of joyous melody comes with every rising breath of the evening breeze! Ah, what voices and visions of the past do those magical tones bring with them! Excuse me, unpoetic reader, if I turn my feelings into verse.
The Burnham bells! The Burnham bells!
I heard them when a boy;
And churchward, o'er the yellow moor,
I ran with childish joy:
My Sabbath had no sorrow then,
And when o'er Berrow's shining strand
Or climbed Brent Knoll's embattled crest
And when the bridal-gem bedecked
How pealed the merry Burnham bells,
As they are pealing now!
And when the Christmas eve came round,
And joy was everywhere,
And youthful glee made sober age
Forget its heavy care,
What wreaths of melody they wove
Upon the wintry air!
And when the annual feast was spread,
Together to our childhood's home
The dear ones fondly drew,
How rang they out the good old year,
"Tis more than thirty Christmas eves,
For I have strayed in foreign lands,